By Christ Arrant
Will Eisner’s The Spirit was born in 1940, and now he’s going back thanks to Matt Wagner in July.
Writer/artist Matt Wagner is leading off an all-new The Spiritseries, acting as a writer, cover artist and art director alongside interior artist Dan Schkade and a cavalcade of other cover artists like Eric Powell, Alex Ross and John Cassaday. Although Wagner’s pulp roots shine brighly in works like Grendel and his Batman stories, the comics veteran hadn’t ever worked on Eisner’s The Spirit until asked by Dynamite.
And at first, he turned them down.
Newsarama talked to Wagner about his long fascination with Eisner’s signature creation, going into various interpretations by Darwyn Cooke and Frank Miller, and how he’s approaching taking on Central City, Denny Colt, and the whole crew. First step? Killing the Spirit.
Newsarama: Matt, what do you have planned with The Spirit ongoing series?
Matt Wagner: This year-long storyline goes against the grain of what had always been the province of Will Eisner’s work on The Spirit—the short story format. I figured that Will pretty much covered the entire gambit of narrative possibilities in 7 page increments so I decided to go with a longer, continuous storyline to try and strike some new ground in the character’s lengthy history. Additionally, the longer story format gives me the opportunity to both introduce new readers to the characters as well as present all the familiar elements to long-time fans. I’m also steering away from what DC Comics had done in setting the character in a modern time-frame. I thought that was a valiant effort and can see why they attempted it, but I’m pretty firm about grounding classic pop culture characters in the time frames in which they were created. So, my story arc takes place in the late 40s, after the Spirit has been operating in Central City for some time.